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Pharmacist Advocates Cannabis for Pain

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  • Tina Lively, a clinical pharmacist, and Abhishek Chattopadhyay, a scientist and educator, presented information on medical cannabis at Chatham’s WISH Centre. Lively shared her experience of witnessing medical cannabis positively impact patients suffering from chronic pain, often as an alternative to traditional medications like Percocet or Tylenol 3, which can have unpleasant side effects.
  • A significant portion of the patients seeking medical cannabis are over 70 years old, primarily driven by the need for pain management. Older individuals are increasingly looking for alternatives to opioids and traditional pain relievers. They desire to maintain their daily activities and enjoy a better quality of life without the side effects associated with other medications.
  • While medical cannabis is seen as a promising alternative, it involves a process that begins with a referral from a doctor. Despite its potential benefits, the cost of medical cannabis remains a concern for many patients as it is subject to taxes, making it less accessible. Lively and organizers hope to address these issues and promote wider acceptance and understanding of medical cannabis in the future.

Tina Lively, a clinical pharmacist with the Thamesview Family Health Team (TFHT) in Chatham, has changed her perspective on medical cannabis over the years.

In a presentation chronicled by the CHATHAM DAILY NEWS, Tina began exploring medical cannabis around 2014-15 when Canadian regulations were evolving.

Lively, along with Abhishek Chattopadhyay, a scientist from AgMedica Bioscience, Inc., recently conducted a presentation at Chatham’s WISH Centre to educate people about medical cannabis, its benefits, and the historical context of its prohibition.

The presentation aimed to reduce the stigma surrounding cannabis and was sponsored by Unifor Local 127 Retirees.

Lively emphasized that many of her patients, particularly those over 70 years old, seek medical cannabis primarily to manage chronic pain.

They are often hesitant to take medications like Percocet or Tylenol 3 due to side effects like constipation or feeling spacey.

Medical cannabis has been life-changing for some patients, enabling them to resume activities like playing golf or spending time with their grandchildren.

Lively stressed that many elderly patients seeking medical cannabis do not want to experience a “high” or develop a smoking habit. Instead, they seek pain relief to maintain their daily activities.

Despite these potential benefits, the cost of medical cannabis remains a concern, as it is subject to taxes.

Lively hopes for wider acceptance of medical cannabis and encourages more education and awareness on the subject.

Accessing medical cannabis typically requires a doctor’s referral, and there are checks in place to evaluate other treatment options before considering medical cannabis.

While progress is being made in terms of acceptance, Chattopadhyay pointed out that it may take time for cannabis to be widely accepted, as change often happens one person at a time. Lively also hopes to address the issue of the cost of medical cannabis in the future.